When Will Your Mobile Phone get Hacked?

With the price reduction and the improvement in technology, the mobile devices are the next big communication platform. But also, they are the next big hacker target.

The history

Starting with WinCE, Linux and Symbian the trend of "computer-like" mobile phones just started. Yes, these platforms had their flaws and security problems. But at the time of their appearance there were two mitigating factors to an all-out attack or exploit

  • The devices had only voice and very low speed data capabilities at high prices - very few people used their devices as more then an electronic address book, and surfing the web was out of the question given their technical capabilities and data transfer prices
  • The devices high price prevented most people from owning them - again, this reduced the attack deployment and spreading capability so an attack vector on them was easily quenched.

The present

Enter iPhone, or as many users called it, the "Jesus Phone". Suddenly, everyone wants one, and Apple has happily sold more then 10 million units worldwide.

Oh, and the business ideas of Steve Jobs to lock the iPhone helped to develop a very powerful user and hacker community, suddenly information on exploiting techniques were shared between enthusiasts.

To fight on the market, everyone and their mother produced an iPhone killer - both in interface and in functionalities.

With hot spots and unlimited data plans all over the place, people are using these devices to read their e-mail, surf the web, even download and upload files.

Does anybody see a resemblance to a laptop?

The future

Enter Android - smart phones will become cheaper! The open platform concept ditches the "Security by obscurity" element, so now a lot of people will have a look into the vulnerabilities of smart phones.

In the war for customers, the providers will offer more and more hot spots and cheaper data plans.

At the moment, I'm turning off my iPone wireless, since it cannot reach a hot spot. In a year, probably my data plan will be such that i don't care whether I'm online or offline. So I'll be online! And there will be millions of users like me, and all of them can become potential targets for hacker attacks.

The effort to solution

One should expect that security becomes a great part of platform development. Android security is already lacking and they are trying to fix it .

But it's not only the android that should be treated as such. Windows Mobile, Symbian, Darwin... ALL should treat terminal (mobile device) security as a crucial part of the platform development.

This goes for the manufacturers that will be using these platforms to create their handsets - at the end of the day, nobody will say that Android was hacked, instead, Nokia, Motorola or HTC will be hacked.

And so far this element of security has been often forgotten or ignored by the manufacturers

So, in summary, I'm expecting your mobile phone to be hacked in the next year. I'll revisit the topic then, to lament on the past


Talkback and comments are most welcome

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